Now, Zomato deliverymen threaten indefinite strike

Representatives submit memorandum to mgmt with list of demands
Swiggy online food delivery workers taking out a protest march to the company’s office in Kochi on Thursday. (Photo | A Sanesh, EPS)
Swiggy online food delivery workers taking out a protest march to the company’s office in Kochi on Thursday. (Photo | A Sanesh, EPS)

KOCHI: The online food service in Ernakulam could be reduced to a trickle with delivery app Zomato’s staff threatening an indefinite strike, joining their compatriots at Swiggy, who have been protesting for the last four days.

Zomato has nearly 3,000 delivery workers in the district. It is learned that union representatives have submitted a memorandum to the Zomato management with a list of demands. “At present, Zomato delivery workers are treated like slaves. There is no fixed service wage system.

The company management is proceeding with practices that neglect the basic demands of the workers. We have submitted a slew of demands to the management. A discussion on the same will be held on Friday. If it fails to reach a consensus, we will be forced to go on an indefinite strike,” said Sumesh Padhman, CITU state committee member and state secretary of the All India Gig Workers Union.

He was speaking to TNIE after a discussion with the Ernakulam District Zomato Workers Union and representatives of other affiliated associations. Meanwhile, after failing to drive a settlement on the Swiggy issue, the district labour officer has asked the joint labour commissioner to take up the matter. “The main demand of Swiggy workers is a hike in minimum wage -- from `20 to `35 -- for every delivery made within a 4sqkm radius in Kochi city. There is also an allegation that the company purposefully denied incentives and other allowances to workers.

“The company is not ready to accept the demands. There is no point in holding a discussion. So we decided to escalate the issue to the joint labour commissioner,” said V K Navas, District Labour Officer.
In a statement, Swiggy defended the company’s policy saying it has enabled a consistent income opportunity for hundreds of delivery partners in Kochi.

“On average, the weekly payout of our active delivery partners in the city has increased close to 20 per cent in the last 12 months and that is an industry best. We are currently speaking to delivery partners to help them understand their payouts better and encourage them to return to work. We regret the inconvenience to our users and hope to resume services soon,” a company spokesperson said.

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